One of the difficulties with tennis drills can be combining the intensity of match play whilst giving people the opportunity to improve their strokes. An effective answer to this can be hand drills which work well for all players, from beginners all the way up to the most advanced players.
These tennis drills suit beginners as much as they do more experienced players and are designed to improve footwork as well as technique.
All you’ll need for these drills are a basket of balls, a cone, and a willing student, and they can really make a difference to anyone’s game.
The Forward V Tennis Drill
The forward V is designed to get players stepping into the court and attacking the ball whilst getting the right spacing for the shot. Stepping into the court and taking time away from your opponent is a crucial tactic in tennis, so it’s important to be able to develop this skill.
Place the cone on the middle of the baseline and position yourself (the coach) halfway between the serviceline and the baseline with your basket ready to feed.
Your student should be stood just behind the cone in a regular starting position to play a groundstroke.
You’re going to hand feed the ball, dropping it to your side, and encouraging the student to step into the court and attack the ball down the line. The student will then recover to the baseline, going round the cone before you drop a ball to the otherside.
The key here is the footwork, and making sure the recovery is done well to create the intensity that reflects a match. It’s easier to get your footwork right when you’re not tired, but when you get through the exercise and start to feel fatigued, this is where you really benefit from being able to get in the right position.
Get the student to focus less on the result of each shot, and more on the process of getting in the right position and carrying out good technique. You can control how difficult or easy you make it by adjusting the speed with which you feed and how short you drop the balls.
The Backward V Tennis Drill
We all love playing on the frontfoot, but the real challenge is how we play when we’re on the backfoot and under pressure. When you’re forced back behind the baseline, your ability to keep hitting through and getting good depth can make all the difference in a tight match.
The Backward V is a great way to improve your student’s ability to play strong tennis from behind the baseline and help them to learn the right to play off the front foot.
The setup is going to be exactly the same as the Forward V except you’re going to move up to the baseline, ready to feed balls deep past the baseline.
Feed the balls deep past the baseline, forcing your student to get behind the ball in order to play a shot. You should make this challenging whilst giving the student a realistic opportunity of getting behind the ball and playing a full topspin shot from a balanced position. The student must then recover in front of the cone, ready to play the next shot.
Footwork is even more important for the backward V than it is for the forward v because getting in the wrong position will likely mean a weak, short shot that can easily be attacked by an opponent.
Again, the main focus here is the footwork and getting the right spacing. The better the student gets at this drill, the more they will be able to play out long points and resist the pressure of their opponents.
Article by: Will